New essential Chicagoan: Jimmy Bannos Sr.
Jimmy Bannos is not a new name. He opened the first Heaven on Seven 30 years ago. He was the second chef inducted into the Chicago Culinary Museum’s Chefs Hall of Fame, after Charlie Trotter. But it’s only as we saw him warmly greeting diners at his groundbreaking new restaurant, Purple Pig (500 N Michigan Ave, 312-464-1744), that we realized Michigan Avenue would never be the same again.
Bannos’s new Chicago essential “My son Jimmy Bannos Jr. is my pick,” he says. After spending three-and-a-half years working for Mario Batali at New York’s Del Posto, Lupa and Esca, Bannos Jr. has returned to Chicago to become executive chef and partner at the Purple Pig. “His journey has brought him back home to me, and I couldn’t be more proud of him. He’s a fourth-generation Chicago restaurateur, and I love working with him daily at the Purple Pig. It brings back memories of when I worked with my father, and to have come full circle and work side by side with my son has brought me such happiness! It is truly a fulfilling experience.”